Building a home can be an overwhelming process. And sometimes it seems like builders speak a whole other language. How can you make sure you’re getting a good deal when everyone is speaking in a lingo that you’re not familiar with? A huge grey area is site costs. All builders seem to charge a different amount, and it’s hard to get a straight answer on what site costs really include.
We’re here to help you understand the ins-and-outs of sites costs so that you can make your building decisions with confidence.
So, what are site costs?
Pretty much, they are the costs associated with getting your block ready to build on.
It covers things like earthworks and site preparation, plus all the behind the scenes admin, like applying for your building permit. It also includes the work required on your block of land to ensure that your home can be built properly, in the right place and so that it will be stable and secure.
Can site costs vary?
Builders site costs can vary for many different reasons. This could be anything from the type of soil to how much fall is across your block. If you’re comparing site costs between builders, make sure you understand exactly what you’re being charged for. You don’t want to be lured in by a cheaper price, only to be hit with extra costs down the track.
To keep with our no BS rule, here at Tick we only ever charge a fixed price for your site costs. So if you’re after peace of mind, fixed price is the way to go!
Tick’s fixed price site costs includes:
- Putting up fencing and access controls
- Making sure everyone onsite is properly qualified
- Arranging sediment control measures to prevent any pollution going down drains
- Preparing waste disposal
- Demolishing any existing structures (which also includes cutting off existing electricity or water supply and drainage services, protecting adjoining properties and removing waste)
- Testing the soil and structural engineering assessments
- Clearing the land
- Stump removal and grubbing
- Levelling your block
- Cutting and filling the land
- Installing retaining walls if they’re needed
- Surveying and setting out where buildings will go
- Connecting water supplies, drainage and other necessary services
- Preparing trenches for slab subfloors, or holes for pilings or stumps
How are site costs calculated?
Your site costs will be calculated based on the specific attributes of your block. For example, the more problematic the soil and greater the slope, the more this will add costs due to increased levels of site preparation required.
The type of soil you lay your foundations on can have repercussions for your house for decades after it’s been built, and for the course of its whole life. So, this step is an extremely important part of the building process.
There are different types of soil such as clay, sand and silt meaning that soil can move, expand and contract with different levels of moisture content. For example, clay-based soils have the potential to change volume and shift with changes in the amount of moisture in the soil. These are sometimes called 'reactive soils' because of this.
Some soils have a greater potential to expand or shrink than others, and this needs to be measured with a soil test to make sure your house's slab is designed in a way that helps protect it from soil movement that might cause it to sink or buckle. This can also cause cracking and other major damage to your home if you have the wrong type of slab.
To make sure that the right slab is poured for your home, your block will need to be tested by a geotechnical engineer. The engineer will take soil samples from the site for testing and then specify the correct site classification according to Australian Standard AS 2870/2011 - Residential slabs and footings.
If hearing the words “site cost” still give you the heebie-jeebies, feel free to get in touch with us, as we would be happy to run through it with you.